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At the Roundhouse

Daily roundups of the N.M. legislative session by John Robertson

At the Roundhouse: Morning questions

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I’m savoring a good cup of coffee, knowing it’s going to be a long day as the Legislature  — what? — tumbles, stumbles, sprints, limps toward adjournment on Thursday.

"Morning Prayer" by Allan Houser. (Albuquerque Journal File)

“Morning Prayer” by Allan Houser. (Albuquerque Journal File)

I can’t tell you what’s going to happen. Too many moving parts for me. I can tell you that it isn’t looking pretty. But we all will know a lot more later today if the Senate, as expected, takes up the budget.

The next question will be the reaction of the narrowly divided and unruly House, which couldn’t muster the votes to pass its own budget bill.

Special session? The budget, and how it allocates the $6 billion therein, is the crux of the question.

But remember how fast things can happen around here.

I’m sure key budget staff for the House and Senate majorities and minorities, and probably the Governor’s Office, too, have been hammering out appropriation details for more than a few days and nights.

At The RoundhouseThe big tax reform deal carried by Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, in the final hours of last year’s session is a classic example of how fast major legislation can be turned out and passed.

Smith’s Senate Finance Committee headed a budget draft to the Senate floor on Sunday night. So, hang on to your hat. Two and-a-half days in the New Mexico Legislature can be a very long time.

Outside: Legislating, of course, isn’t all that’s going on in New Mexico.

Junipers have reddened and are starting to unleash their caustic pollen. And Journal science writer John Fleck informs us that the drought is worse than we might have thought: “New Mexico in its worst drought since 1880s.”

Something missing: All session long, I have had a sense that important things are missing from the Roundhouse scene.

I have put my finger on one them: The big, dark bronze “Morning Prayer” statue by Allan Houser is gone from the east entrance to the Capitol.

I’m told the Capitol Art Foundation doesn’t own it and it’s apparently on tour someplace else.

I like it at the Roundhouse, face raised to the east in morning prayer.

Makes you feel a little better about entering the building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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